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STERN NOW FACES QUESTION OF WHEN

David Stern reacted harshly five months ago when he was asked about point-shaving in the NBA.

The commissioner can't dismiss it anymore.

With his league facing its biggest scandal ever, Stern plans to hold a news conference this morning. The first question he must answer is what, and when, the league knew of former referee Tim Donaghy's gambling habits.

Donaghy officiated the last game of his 13-year NBA career during the San Antonio-Phoenix second-round series. Stern surely will be asked if the league could, or should, have known of Donaghy's problems by then.

The Associated Press reported the league was unaware of the inquiry until after the NBA Finals. But the Denver Post reported Sunday that the NBA was made aware of the investigation in January.

As Donaghy continued to cooperate with a federal investigation of possible point-shaving in the NBA, a court document obtained Monday signaled that an organized crime-related guilty plea could be coming out of the same prosecutor's office that is investigating the former referee.

Assistant U.S. attorney Thomas J. Seigel did not return calls seeking comment on whether the warrant, filed Friday at U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, is related to the NBA investigation. But Seigel, the office's top organized-crime prosecutor who is thought to be heading the Donaghy investigation, filed the waiver of grand jury indictment against an unnamed defendant in a possibly unrelated move that nonetheless could signal the culmination of a major, mob-related felony case.

A federal investigation led by the same Eastern District prosecutor's office in conjunction with the FBI focuses on whether Donaghy, 40, bet on games he officiated during the past two seasons and provided assistance to basketball bettors. Donaghy is expected to surrender by the end of this week or early next week, Newsday reported.

Two south New Jersey bookmakers described as "small-time mob wannabes" not affiliated with the NBA are expected to be arrested.

The scandal that has shaken pro basketball turned bizarre Monday with word that sheriff's deputies had staked out Donaghy's Bradenton home after the former referee received threatening phone calls.

"You're done," one caller said, a Manatee County Sheriff's Office report read. "You're dead."

Both calls seemed to come from the same unidentified caller, Sheriff's Office spokesman Randy Warren said.

"There is reason for us to keep an eye on his place and follow up," he said.

NETS: Lawrence Frank signed a multiyear contract extension with the Nets, who have advanced to the playoffs each of the four seasons he has coached the team.

New Jersey finished 41-41 last season but lost in the second round to the Cavaliers, the eventual conference champions. Frank, the NBA's youngest coach at age 36, has never gotten the Nets beyond the second round.

"My concern has always been to live for the moment," Frank said. "I just do my job, and eventually I'll get evaluated properly. I don't worry about things I can't control."

Frank has been head coach since midway through the 2003-04 season. His record of 157-129 (.549) makes him the franchise's winningest coach. His playoff record is 18-20 (.474).

PISTONS: The team signed forward Antonio McDyess to a two-year contract extension, keeping the team's top reserve off the free-agent market next summer.

McDyess, whose career once was in doubt because of knee operations, played in a career-high 82 games in each of the past two seasons. He has one season remaining on his deal.

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